Starting a business is one of the most rewarding avenues you can pursue in life. Instead of spending your life working for someone else, making some other company rich, you have decided to haul yourself up by your own bootstraps to take the world on as an entrepreneur. The following tips for starting a business will prepare you for what’s to come. That way you can avoid any possible detours on your way to living the exciting life of business ownership.
Marketplace Value: We will start off these tips for starting a business with the value you intend to deliver to your hopefully hungry audience. For your business to make money, you will need to offer products and/or services and those offerings had better be good. Regardless of what or where you plan to do business, you will likely be up against a slew of competition. The high value you offer will give your customers good reason to choose you over those competitors.
In order to offer high value when starting a business, a good deal of market research is recommended. Start off with social media and popular forums in your niche, as this is where you can catch your prospects discussing products and services just like yours, as well as a good deal of other information, such as the prices they will most likely pay, any complaints they have about any competing products and services and what is truly missing from the marketplace. If you can fill any perceived voids in the market with your valuable offerings, you will surely do well.
The Competition: It would be wise to dedicate a good portion of your market research to figuring out what your competitors are up to. Even if you’re offering a unique product or service, you likely have others who are offering similar products and services. In today’s rapidly growing marketplace, you’d be hard pressed to find any offering that’s truly unique.
That being said, study your competitors and, just like a game of chess, do your best to remain a few steps ahead at all times if you want to maintain your superiority over them.
Your Marketing Plan: Once all of your research is compete, we couldn’t offer you a list of tips on starting a business without mention of a solid marketing plan. Your plan should include your mission statement, a complete analysis of your product and service offerings, cash flow projections for the first few years and any other information banks, credit unions and investors would want to know before they take a chance on you. Consider your marketing plan your roadmap to success.
Business Name Ownership: Your business needs a name and you should make sure that you own that name before you proceed. After all, you would hate to design a variety of marketing materials – such as banners, flyers, logos, web design and business cards – that feature your business name if someone is going to come forward and challenge your right to that name later on. Get you name registered with your state and secure patents if you have to in order to avoid DBA name challenges somewhere down the line.
Abiding By the Law: Secure all the patents and licenses you need, fill out all the required paperwork and choose the proper business structure to ensure that you are protected from liability and that your business is operating well within the law.
Earned & Raised Capital: Starting a business costs money and the amount you need depends on the business you plan to create. The ideal situation would see you spending your own money. This way, all of your business success can be attributed to you and your enabling resources. If you don’t have enough money to get your business idea off the ground, you will have to raise it.
Start with loans and lines of credit that can be secured through banks and credit unions. Your aforementioned marketing plan will be your passport to lucrative loans and credit lines, provided that you’ve done your homework. Banks, credit unions and venture capitalists just want to know that they will eventually make their money back. If you can successfully convey your ideas and your plans for success, you should be able secure the funds you need.
Cash Flow Projections: This is a must in your marketing plan. You must show where your cash will be coming from and where it will be going, day to day, week to week and month to month. The individuals investing in your business only want cold, hard facts. They don’t want to hear that your business is going to be the best around, or that your products are amazing. They get told that every day. Only the businesses that can prove that they have a solid hold on their finances before they even start will be the ones to woo investors and secure the adequate capital for opening the business doors for the very first time.
The Proper Mindset: Starting a business is hard. You could be the strongest, most motivated, most level-headed person in the world and you might still feel like crying some days. Business may be up one day and it may drop the next. Clients and customers may come and they may go. Cash will rise and it may fall, just like the changing of the wind. Only by remaining strong of mind and only by striving to keep your emotions under control even under the harshest of circumstances will you be able to weather such storms.
Insurance: Like most people starting a business, you’re obviously excited about starting, but have you planned for those worst-case-scenarios that no one really wants to think about? What if you are suddenly incapacitated and can no longer operate your business? What if your business is sued because of a product that you created that then went on to hurt someone? For that matter, what if your office succumbs to fire, flood or an F5 tornado? The right insurance portfolio will protect you against any worst-case-scenario you can think of.
Now that you have these tips for starting a business under your belt, conduct your research and put your idea into action. Just know this; it takes a really good idea, the proper planning and action; the right mindset and the ideal market conditions if you want your efforts of starting a business to truly pay off. Your homework is to start brainstorming the potential value that you want to offer the world. Your audience is waiting. What are you waiting for?
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